Earlier this week, Superintendent Bob Kahler announced that a “budget freeze” was imposed on the alternate 98 organizational structure. In his Nov. 8 report to the Community School District committee, Kahler explained that the action was taken as a precautionary measure due to the uncertainty at the office. “That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to buy essential items. It’s more about hitting the brakes and looking and searching for under-budget items,” he said.
Boothbay committee member Bruce MacDonald sought a more detailed explanation. He asked, “Is that some kind of red flag?” Kahler described the situation as “No red flag, I should have used a different word than freeze, maybe prudence works better.”
As a further action, the committee received legal advice on proposed changes to the school charter. Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor Selectmen seek to “repeal and replace” the 1954 document. Attorney Bill Stockmeyer is advising the school committee. He advised seeking consensus with the two selected bodies to create a replacement that reflects Maine law. “You now have a document that is archaic and difficult to understand. You might be better off with a new document based on Maine law that includes exceptions you want to keep from the current charter,” he said.
Kahler will meet with Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor Town Managers to discuss further charter changes. Local officials hope to present a final bylaw amendment to meet a 2023 legislative session deadline.
In his report, Kahler informed committee members about a possible tuition increase for the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center. For years, government grants have not covered the center’s additional costs, he said. “They have covered these costs in the past, but it’s gotten to a point where they want members to ‘step in’ for additional costs,” he said. Kahler and Tricia Campbell, principal of Boothbay Region High School, are both principals on the center’s board of directors. The tuition increase for the next school year will be considered at a future Technical Center Board meeting.
It is also being discussed that the BRHS should become a location for the career and technology center. Kahler reported preliminary talks to offer two courses in Boothbay Harbor. “That’s probably two to three years away, but I’ve spoken to the director about offering naval services and outdoor leadership courses here,” he said. Kahler added the delay was due to a lengthy application process and state education officials having to verify that the courses would not compete with those offered in Bath.
Abby Jones, a member of the Building Exploratory Committee, urged both the school board and community members to attend the Nov. 30 meeting. She reported that the BEC needs input on whether to add a $3 million middle school to the proposed $76 million renovation. “We need to ask the community for their input. It’s an important decision,” she said. Kahler added that the BEC aims to raise $40 million in private funding for the project. “If we don’t reach the target by February, we will decide in March whether we want to postpone the May vote,” he said.
The committee meets Tuesday, December 13 at 5:15 p.m. in the high school library.